A Case of the Shoulds

(Or: Muddy Buddies for Breakfast)

From deep under the covers I hear them crunching away. I haven’t peeled my eyes open to look at the clock, but I know it’s not yet 8 am. Cartoons play softly. “We better stop eating the puppy chow before it’s all gone,” one says to the other as they giggle. 

I should get up and make them breakfast. I should change out of the yoga pants I’ve slept in. I should swap my glasses for contacts and straighten my hair. But, I’m not ready to get up. 

The past few weeks have been a battle of the “shoulds.” I’m experiencing the cultural pressure to be productive, to launch some creative project, to lose ten pounds, to mother with color-coded charts, theme days, crafts, and made-from-scratch meals, and above all to be grateful. 

“This should be easier,” I lament to my husband over coffee. “I should be reveling in the excuse to not go anywhere; a cleared schedule. I’m on sabbatical! I have nothing but time to bake, exercise, read and home school the children.”

But it’s not easy. Losing our rhythms and routines, having our social interactions confined to screens, cancelling our highly anticipated trips to see extended family, managing the anxieties that come with uncertainty and scarcity: these are not easy things. 

After six weeks of self-quarantine we are just being. Trying to be gentle and loving, responsible and kind, creative and hopeful. And above all trying to be grateful for each other. 


Growing up we referred to this sweet chex treat as Puppy Chow, but it may be better know as “Muddy Buddies” depending what part of the country you grew up in.

My son declared that “Puppy Chowder” (seriously too cute to correct) qualified as breakfast food since the base ingredient is cereal.



🥚 9 c. rice square cereal (or some combination of rice or corn cereals)

🥚 1/2 c. peanut butter

🥚 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

🥚 1/4 c. butter

🥚 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar


🍥 In a small saucepan melt butter over medium heat.

🍥 Add in peanut butter and chocolate chips, stirring until smooth.

🍥 In a large bowl, measure out cereal. Pour melted mixture over cereal and gently stir to cover.

🍥 Add powdered sugar to the large bowl, tossing gently until cereal mixture is well coated.

I wrote this brief reflection over a month ago. A version of this was first published A Time Enduring. A collection of reflections about life in the shadow of COVID-19 ( Rejoice!, MennoMedia) April -May 2020. 

I have adapted it here to include the Muddy Buddies/Puppy Chow recipe.

Published by shergerber

Pastor, momma & home baker in the Shenandoah Valley

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